As of Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people in the Caribbean, including 336 in Haiti, have been killed by Hurricane Matthew, as officials warn the death toll may continue to rise.
The powerful storm destroyed homes, flooded villages and engulfed communities in knee deep water after making landfall in Haiti as a Category 4 hurricane Tuesday.
It ripped through the southwestern peninsula of the country. Three days after the hurricane hit, the full extent of damage in Haiti is not yet known, as rescue efforts have been hampered by downed communication systems and flooded roads as they struggle to reach the hardest-hit areas.
The current death toll does not take into account potential loss of life in the far southwest of the country, which have yet to be assessed due to “communication issues,” said Civil Protection Service spokesman Joseph Edgard Celestin.
Hurricane Matthew’s ferocious impact left 350,000 people in need of assistance and forced about 15,000 residents into in shelters, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
UNICEF had warned on Wednesday that Haiti is facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the 2010 earthquake, which killed at least 220,000, injured 300,000 and displaced 1.5 million people.
“What we are realizing, as we are going further … is that there’s been a lot of devastation and a lot of damage and probably a lot more than what we had initially assessed,” said Ariane Quentier, spokeswoman for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti.
Matthew weakened slightly Friday morning to a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds near 120 mph. But the U.S. National Hurricane Center says it’s expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it moves closer to Florida’s coast.
Two million people were warned to flee inland as the most powerful storm to threaten the Atlantic coast in more than a decade charged toward Florida.
To help those affected by Hurricane Matthew, refer to the resources below:
The American Red Cross is accepting donations of all amounts to assist those victimized by Hurricane Matthew.
New York Blood Center is asking for blood donations due to short supply in areas affected by the hurricane.
Food For the Poor is asking for generous donations – one-time or monthly – in order to help them purchase, ship and deliver emergency supplies to those in need.
The Salvation Army is asking for support in Hurricane Matthew relief. It allows them to provide food, shelter, emotion and spiritual care and other forms of emergency assistance to disaster survivors and rescue workers. Give your gift here.
UNICEF is working on providing lifesaving assistance to children and families. You can donate here.
Save the Children established a relief fund to help the more than 130,000 vulnerable children as well as deploying specialists to provide basic health services and cholera prevention.
CARE needs your help to provide relief. They are responding to the devastating storm with clean drinking water, food assistance and emergency supplies. Donate here.